I'm not sure when it happened, but board games are cool again. Yeah, we all liked Cluedo as kids, but when you hit puberty the idea of staring at the Scrabble board, massaging your temples, and desperately trying to think better than a three -letter word does not sound great. Hell, you'd better be in the park, drinking and trying to clumsily fondle the genitalia of someone you're freakishly into, but now would not recognize them in the street.
At some point though, that gets boring. Well, okay, not boring per se, but at least less exciting than when you were fifteen. And definitely less 'adult.'
Maybe this increased interest in board games is due to aging and wanting to invoke and relive the innocent joy we had as kids;
Or, maybe, just maybe, board games are fucking dope.
I do not know, I'm not a scientist nor your dad. Codenames is brilliant and I love it and you will too.
So, as is the case with the "Love letter to … "series, we need to get into some history. Wait, do not run – this is probably fun.
Fine, give me the context.
I've been into board games for a while, but my recent move to Amsterdam has stoked this further. Moving to a new country and making decent mates is not easy. Yeah, hitting the pub, catching movies, and brunch (* sigh *) are all good, but playing board games with people is better.
Not only do they combine perfectly with the trinity of drinking, listening to music, and people  people.
Now, I'm not talking about knowing anyone, I'm talking about knowing them.
Anyway, back to Codenames. Just before Christmas my girlfriend and I are organizing a small board games session at a local bar. The majority of titles are suitable for around four players, so I headed to the shop, looked through the games, browsed some reviews and settled on one: Codenames .
And you know what?
Okay then – but tell me how Codenames works.
It's joyously simple, but – as with most board games – it sounds more complex than it is. Simply put, it's a clue-based word-guessing game. First off, players split into two teams, red and blue. From each one of these teams a 'spymaster' is selected.
A 5 × 5 grid of 25 word cards are laid out in front of everyone. The spymasters have a keycard on the table with the cards on the table, the other players can not see it.
The job of the spymaster is to give one-word clues that cover as many of these are as possible. Fox, "and" Coat, "so you could give the clue" for. "There are a few more intricacies to the rules, but there's no need to explain them here.
The spymaster has the hardest role, as giving clues is much tougher than it sounds. The rest of the players, on the other hand, have a far easier time. This is one of the many positives of Codenames .
Who's Codenames for ?
Anyone who wants a party-style board game. It's that simple.
Since that fateful afternoon, I've played Codenames in a variety of settings. With close family, non-board game loving friends, work colleagues, and more. Each and every time I've played, people have (seemingly) enjoyed it.
Is Codenames flawless? Well, it depends on what you mean by that. It's a simple, word-based game suitable for all kinds of people. If you're into complex titles and hate wordplay, this is not for you. But Codenames is perfect at being an easy-to-play, fun game. And, in my opinion, you need it in your board game arsenal.
It's almost as good as drinking in the park. Almost.
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Published February 28, 2019 – 10:58 UTC
Product Codenames by Czech Games